Saturday, November 22, 2008

And So It Begins ... Thanksgiving #1

Well, actually, it began yesterday when I took the turkey out of the freezer to thaw. Thanksgiving is upon us! This is one of my favorite holidays, because it is when I truly challenge my kitchen skills. I wish I could share it with family, but to go home means I would have to compromise my menu (most folks don't appreciate my "weird" tastes) and cook my favorite meal without the kitchen gadgets I love so much. I'm in a quandary -- how exactly to prep the turkey? I have been brining turkeys for years now. (At least ever since the year every chef on the Food Network brined the turkeys for their shows.) My favorite recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. In 2006, Cook's Illustrated presented salting turkeys as a better option for a moist bird with crisp skin. On top of all that, I've been eating peanut butter and jelly; grilled cheese and red beans and rice so that I wouldn't break the bank when I purchased truffle butter for this year's turkey recipe. Last year was the year of the sweet potato for me. This year, I'm in love with truffles! I'm thanking in advance for what I'm sure will be the best turkey I've ever had. I was so excited when I ran across the recipe.

So, what to do with the bird? It's a Butterball because after checking two stores, I couldn't find a turkey that hadn't been injected. I checked Whole Foods later and of course they would sell me one for $60. Not this year. I've always brined Butterballs anyway. I know you aren't supposed to, but it works for me. Although brining produces juicy flavorful turkey, the skin isn't really crispy. Salting would give me a crispy skin, but I'm afraid to salt a Butterball. Epicurious' truffle turkey recipe requires no brining, but I don't quite trust that.

So here's what I'm thinking (and I will email the foodie community to confirm or deny my craziness):

  1. Brine the turkey
  2. Let it air dry overnight and
  3. Apply compound butter under the skin

I know that's a lot of work, but I'm willing to try it.

Moving on. If you haven't guessed by the title, I'm going to try some close to real-time Thanksgiving blogging this year. You may see random posts about having to clean off the table and digging through cabinets to find pans.

Wish me luck!

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